Taking this week to a more traditional place, it was time for a Beef, Ale and Mushroom Pie...and gosh was it a good'un!
Using our delicious diced US Grain Fed Beef Brisket, which works perfectly for the low and slow cooking. Mixed with some delicious Black Sheep Ale and a variety of mushrooms we had a strong feeling this was going to be a good day.
- 1 500g Packet US Grain Fed Diced Beef Brisket
- Vegetable Oil
- Dried Porcini Mushrooms
- 2 Onions
- 4 Garlic Cloves
- 3 Large Carrots
- 1tsp Caster Sugar
- 2tbsp Flour
- 1 bottle Dark Ale (We used Black Sheep Ale)
- 2 Beef Stock Pots
- 2 Bay Leaves
- Thyme (Either a few sprigs of Thyme or a scattering of dried)
- 200g Bacon Lardons
- 300g Chestnut Mushrooms
- 2 packets pre rolled Short Crust Pastry
- 1 Egg
Firstly pull the beef out of the freezer the night before you want to cook the pie mix up. Bring the Beef and Bacon to room temperature half an hour before you want to cook as this will give you a better result.
Put the dried Porcini Mushrooms in a deep bowl and cover with boiling water, allow these to soak for 20 minutes.
Whilst the mushrooms are soaking, heat a large saucepan, season the beef with salt and a little oil. Seal off the beef in small batches to ensure it doesn't boil. Put in a bowl and cover with a plate until needed.
Dice the onions and sweat off in the pan, halfway through add in the garlic minced. Add a drop of the Ale to de-glaze the pan and so the onions can soak up all the deliciousness.
Add in the sliced and quartered Carrots and cook for 5 minutes or so to get some colour. Add in the Porcini mushrooms then sprinkle over the sugar and flour. Stir until browned and all the juices have been soaked up.
Tip back in the meat and any juices left in the bowl. Followed by the rest of the bottle of Ale, add in the 2 Beef Stock Pots and the liquor from the mushrooms. Don't pour out all the juices from the mushrooms as there may be grit at the bottom. I left a centimetre or so in the bowl.
Season with salt and pepper, add in the Bay Leaves and Thyme. Give the pot a good stir.
Bring the pan up to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for an hour and a half, covered, stirring occasionally to ensure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
In a frying pan brown off the Bacon lardons until crisp and then add in the sliced mushrooms. Remove from the heat and let the mushrooms cook through with the residual heat. Add a splash of water just to get those nuggets of flavour from the lardons up.
After the beef has cooked remove from the heat and add in the bacon and lardon mix. Stir and allow the pot to cool over night to use the next day.
The pie can either be cooked with the mix at room temperature or cold, it doesn't really matter which. I did it from cold.
Liberally butter and flour a pie dish, trim the pastry up leaving a lip on the sides, add in the pie mix with a slotted spoon as you may have more liquid than needed. The meat should pile up just over the top of the pie dish. Pour over enough of the beef mix juice to half way up the pie dish.
Brush the edges of the pie with water and place the other sheet of pastry over the top. Pinch the sides together, make 2 incisions in the middle of the pie to let out steam. Do feel free to decorate the pie.
Mix an egg and cover the top of the pie liberally, this will ensure the pie goes a gorgeous golden brown colour.
Place the pie in a preheated oven at 200c and cook the pie for 40 minutes, or until golden brown.
Serve up with extra gravy and a side of buttery mash potato.
Up next Kangaroo and Red Wine pie...
British Pie Week has got us thoroughly engrossed! Cooking and baking and seeing people enjoy what's been made is fantastic, and namely one of the reason I for one cook. Luckily for me our office is full of 22 hungry people, all the time no matter if they've just eaten a meal or not.
Up first was to cook some Iberico Pork, I scoured high and low for a recipe that might work for this but not be a regular pie. Looking to push the boundaries and blur the idea of "pie" just a touch. I had in my head a vision of those sweet little Empanadas you get in Tapas restaurants.
I found a delicious sounding recipe from a blog called Loves Food, Loves to Eat, so credit to Amber for the bases of what we did!
- 2 packets Iberico Sliced Plumas (240g each)
- 3 Uncooked Iberico Chorizo Sausages
- 1 Onion, Diced
- 3 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2 bottle of Dry Cider (we used Henneys)
- 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 3 Tbsp Tomato Puree
- 1 Tbsp Molasses (we used Pomegranate Molasses)
- 1 Tbsp English Mustard
- 1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
- 1 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1 Tsp Oregano (we used dry, but you could use a couple of sprigs of fresh)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Monterey Jack Cheese (Optional)
- 2 Rolls of Short Crust Pastry
- 1 Egg
Firstly defrost the Iberico Plumas and Chorizo overnight and bring to room temperature half an hour before wanting to cook them.
Remove the Chorizo from there skins and pull apart so it looks like mince.
Heat a large pan that can go in the oven, and add the Chorizo. Keep breaking it apart with a wooden spatula, very much you like would with mince. Cook until golden brown on all sides. Remove from the pan.
Cut the Iberico Plumas into 3 pieces, season with salt and a touch of oil and sear on either side, just to brown off. Remove these from the pan and put with the small nuggets of Chorizo.
In the same pan reduce the heat, add a touch of oil and sweat down the diced onion. Half way through add in the chopped Garlic. Pour over the Cider, a huge puff of steam will come off the pan, so be careful!
Using the wooden spatula scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the deliciousness from the meat mixed into the cider. This really enhances the final flavour of the dish, the more flavour the better!
After the eruption of steam, and all that scraping of deliciousness, add in Vinegar, Tomato Puree, Molasses, Mustard, Sugar, Cayenne, and Oregano. Stir all together and bring to a simmer. Put a lid on and place in a preheated oven at 180c for 2 hours. Once cooked remove from the oven and using two forks shred the meat, after shredded mix thoroughly and it will soak up all that delicious sauce.
Now, I cooked this first part up the night before it was needed, so used the mixture cold. Although I'm sure it would work just as well if warm.
Using a sheet of Shortcrust Pastry (hold my hands up I used shop brought) cut down the middle length ways, and then cut 6 equal rectangles.
I using the cheese put a thin square on the pastry off centre but leaving an edge (to fix the otherside of the pastry) place a dessertspoon of the pork mixture on top.
Dab water on the clear edge and fold the pastry, corner to corner. Using a fork crimp the sides down and make a small cut on the top to allow steam to release.
Cover liberally with egg wash.
Cook in a preheated oven at 200c for 20 minutes, or until gorgeously golden brown, and probably oozing slightly with cheese! I served them up with Potato Salad and Coleslaw. They would work great served cold as well especially on a picnic with a nice cold bottle of beer or even cider.
I made a total of 12, but had enough mix for about 18 if not 20.
Happy Baking! Up next is the US Grain Fed Beef Brisket, Ale and Mushroom Pie...
A strange title you might feel for the first blog post on Meat Me At Homes very beautiful looking page, but, an apt place to start!
Meat Me At Home, the sister company of Freedown Food. Started life in 1993, overlooking a field on the family farm. Our gorgeous founder, Mr Russell, decided to sell the family Venison. A few years later, needing to expand the companies repertoire he jumped, fittingly, to importing Kangaroo and Crocodile (an understandable link, right?!). Moving in the right direction we get introduced to our other exquisite owner, Mr Bengue.
The two, are a force to be reckoned with, the company continued to expand and go through several years of new products and selling all sorts of interesting "Bush Tucker" treats. Wanting to provide more focus on who Freedown were, and what they did culling season started. In doing so they found a position in the market for the company to make some serious head way. They started importing Wagyu Beef and Duke of Berkshire Pork. Further on from that and nearer to the present day they now import US Grain Fed Beef, Japanese Miyazaki Wagyu Beef, Iberico Pork and Bison to name just a few.
The rest is history as they say, and near to 25 years later the company is going from strength to strength...but they aren't who I'm just here to talk about! Meat Me At Home, or MMAH for short, a concept created in the school playground after the old Freedown consumer site realised how vintage it was looking - not the kind you want to wear either!
Collaborations, photo-shoots, puzzlement, mountains and molehills aside, two years later we are here, growing, striving and surviving. The most wonderful customers we could ask for, a beautiful (yes, you should see the pair of them) purchasing team behind us who source exquisite products, a back office who buffer my frustrations with excel superbly, and the sales team who's fingers are continuously on the pulse in the restaurant scene. A warehouse team who pick and pack the most beautiful parcels. Saving the best till last (obviously) our credit manager, who manages the hell out of all of us and also moonlights as my restaurant critic!
Our plan is simple - to bring exceptional meat with outstanding taste straight to your front door. I'll be using this to talk about our products, recipes -the success and failures, and any topics that you our customers and readers come up with. The places we have eaten, what is going on in the industry and hopefully provide some memorable moments along the way!
And breathe...this is more frightening than producing figures for the bosses. That gives you a background of where we started and a perfect place to start our journey.
As for me, having been with Freedown Food for near on 5 years now, working with MMAH for just over a year of that. My love for food started way before this and landed me training as a chef in London. Now I have access to some of the best meat products the world provides and get to cook, eat, write and socialise.
Who doesn't love talking lunch at breakfast!
I'm off to raise a glass...